Lionsgate Leadership and Missions Institute, in collaboration with City Harvest’s School of Theology, aims to empower students to go forth and preach the gospel in all the world, including the marketplace.
Contributed By Bernie Guan
A school rooted in Christian values and in the teaching of the Cultural Mandate on a practical, school-based level—that forms the foundation of the collaboration between Lionsgate Leadership and Missions Institute and City Harvest’s School of Theology.
Troy Marshall, the founder and lecturer of LLMI said, “The purpose is essentially to get the message of Cultural Mandate into local churches, and to raise up a generation of people who will carry this message as part of their DNA into the marketplace and into the remote areas of the world.”
Marshall adds that the program aims to “enable each [student] to manifest the truth and bring forth fruits that will remain.”
PATTERNED FOR SUCCESS
When it came to the curriculum, Marshall and his wife, Annwell, the co-founder and Dean of Students at LLMI, “did not want to reinvent the wheel.” Patterned after SOT, which has a curriculum that delves deep in theology and is built with a good Christian foundation, there are classes that may overlap. Still, the Marshalls emphasize that while the school’s primary aim is to “build upon the teachings of Cultural Mandate”, in the process it will “bring in the practical things that will help people survive and penetrate the marketplace of society.”
LLMI is not only a school of discipleship but “a school focused on people who either know or want to find out what their career paths are,” explains Marshall. “Your career must be your calling—(it is) where you minister in the marketplace.” As such, the school focuses on those individuals who have “progressed to the point of knowing that they have a call of God in their life.”
But Marshall clarifies that it is not the aim of the school to only recruit mature believers, since part of the training is about the maturing process. Instead, he is looking for people who have a “sense of destiny, a calling and a purpose in life.”
For its first year, LLMI is seeing students from different continents: US, Europe, Central and South America, and Asia. The Marshalls “want to raise up virtuous Christians” and not merely have the institute become a certificate mill. LLMI envisions its students to be predominantly between 20 and 40 years of age who look beyond being simply great wealth builders for the Kingdom, to becoming equipped to “Christianize their businesses.”
The LLMI leadership also believes that there is a strong correlation between one’s potential and his dominant gifting, which is “whatever God-given grace that accompanies you and helps you to be at your most prosperous.” Here, one should embrace “the highest form of prosperity” and that involves “living in the call of God where there is grace, provision, comfort and safety,” explained Marshall.
Conceptualizing the vision-to-school transition was not an easy task. Thankfully, Bobby Chaw, the dean of SOT in Singapore, has been instrumental in establishing and providing assistance as an advisor in the development of LLMI’s curriculum. Since its inception, Chaw has been working closely with the Marshalls to build up the strengths and core capabilities of the Sacramento-based Bible school.
The result is an institute closely modeled after SOT.
FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT
For the opening ceremony of LLMI, Derek Dunn, an executive pastor in CHC, flew to Sacramento, California to deliver the inaugural lecture on Tuesday, Sep. 6. Interestingly, Dunn and Marshall are no strangers—both were classmates back in Bible college in the early ‘90s. Having gone through the same rigorous training at seminary, Marshall added that they possess “similar experiences in what influenced them” and the lessons learned back then “have shaped their lives and influenced the way they do things.”
“The opening week at Lionsgate was off to a great start,” says Dunn, who spoke on understanding the Holy Spirit, tongues and prayer in his opening session. As he taught and led in the spirit of prayer, many students received “a greater revelation of the person of the Holy Spirit and of how to pray.” By the end of the week, “the students came to a place of unity as most had come from different church backgrounds and had different understandings of prayer and the Holy Spirit.”
Throughout their 12-month training, students will go through modules such as Etiquette, Protocol and Public Relations targeted at imparting the essence of business and ministry etiquette. Furthermore, though they prepare their students to enter the world, the Marshalls want to raise up people who are “counter-culture.”
Through sessions anchored by prolific Christian leaders such as John Bevere, Les and Sheila Bowling, Shirley Bridwell and Kong Hee, students will be imbued with the purpose to bring spirituality and integrity into the marketplace, even as they excel in it.
Other courses such as Creative Media and Communications 101 seek to enable students to get outside the arena to communicate with people in those communities in a manner that is “spiritually-based and yet not overly expressed with ‘Christianese’.”
This is due to the increasing trend of “cross-pollination” between the church and the business, art and entertainment sectors in societies, where teachers of the Bible need to train up ministers to move beyond the platform of the pulpit to reach cities.
Jeronn Loong, a SOT 2011 graduate, is part of LLMI’s pioneer cohort and says that he has already learned a lot at the school. Since the semester started, the 29-year-old Singaporean has been given the opportunity to be immersed in prophetic worship and instruments, which have allowed him to step out and exercise the gifts of the Spirit.
Being a business owner prior to joining LLMI, Loong expects to be “refined in character and be equipped with leadership skills in the business arena, operating and engaging in all aspects of spiritual gifts” by the end of the school year. Staying true to his calling, Loong envisions himself “establishing his business in Singapore and penetrating the Chinese market” in due season.